Mother who died trying to shield rabbi during Poway synagogue shooting would've 'forgiven' her killer

Lori Kaye, 60, was killed in the Saturday shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue near San Diego after 19-year-old John T. Earnest opened fire at the congregation

                            Mother who died trying to shield rabbi during Poway synagogue shooting would've 'forgiven' her killer
Congregation Chabad Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein (Source : Getty Images)

A 60-year-old woman who died after throwing herself in front of the rabbi in order to protect him from the gunman's bullets has now been remembered as a giving, high-spirited, and pious Jewish woman during a very emotional funeral service on Monday.

Around the same time, the suspect in the Saturday shooting at the Chabad of Poway synagogue near San Diego — 19-year-old John T. Earnest from Rancho Penasquitos — was formally charged.

Lori Kaye's brave act of shielding her rabbi epitomized the life she had led, her family and friends said on April 29.

CNN reported that Kaye's friends and family remembered how she had dedicated her life to spreading kindness and helping others no matter what happens. Kaye's daughter, Hannah, said at her memorial service that she knows her mother would have forgiven the man who took her life Saturday.

Hannah Kaye (center) the daughter of shooting victim Lori Kaye, sits on the ground with her aunt, Randi Grossman, as the last shovels of dirt cover her mother's grave during funeral services on April 29, 2019, in San Diego (Source: AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

The memorial service for Kaye, 60, drew hundreds, including the three people wounded in the attack, federal and state lawmakers, a U.S. State Department envoy on anti-Semitism and a representative of the Israeli government, along with local city and police leaders.

Hannah, 22, said her mother would have relished seeing such a large crowd. She loved people, opening her home on Jewish holidays and making grand feasts. Kaye was known to drive hours to visit a sick friend. She bought six months' worth of medication for someone without insurance. She left her freshly baked challah in mailboxes and on doorsteps all over town and would buy extra bagels and coffee during her morning routine to be able to give them away, her family and friends said.

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein speaks during funeral services for shooting victim Lori Kaye (Source: AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Her mission was to help others enjoy life, just as she did. She gave to numerous charities. That's why Kaye's daughter Hannah said she knows in her heart that her mother has forgiven the 19-year-old man accused of killing her. She would have responded with love. "Her light has reached all crevices of this planet," she said.

Hannah said she would miss singing in the car with her mother and dancing in the kitchen. She told her before she died that she was her best friend. "Everyone was her sister, everyone was her trusted confidante," Hannah Kaye said. "Everyone was her friend."

Menachem Levanoni, right, president of the Chabad of Poway synagogue, speaks Monday, April 29, 2019, at the funeral for Lori Kaye, who was killed Saturday when a gunman opened fire inside the synagogue in Poway, California (Source: AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

The synagogue's rabbi, Yisroel Goldstein, lost one of his fingers in the shooting and comforted worshippers with his hand wrapped in blue bandages. Noya Dahan, 8, and her uncle Almog Peretz both suffered leg wounds in the attack but were released from the hospital and honored Kaye on Monday.

The U.S. State Department's new envoy on anti-Semitism told the congregation that her death will not be in vain. He said the Trump administration is committed to fighting evil wherever it lurks. "I'm here to say we are at war with these people," Elan Carr said, vowing to fight anti-Semitism in "every city in the United States."

Yisroel Goldstein, Rabbi of Chabad of Poway, holds a yellow rose as he speaks (Source: AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Kaye devoted her life to her Jewish faith and living its values of generosity and caring for others, her friends and family said. She kept a pole in their front yard with the words "May peace prevail on Earth" in several different languages, including Hebrew and Spanish.

"She had a soul that was greater than any of us ever could believe," said her husband, Dr. Howard Kaye. Dr. Kaye performed CPR on his wife after she was shot. He said she did not suffer. "She went straight up," he said.

Candles burn, Monday, April 29, 2019, in front of a photo of Lori Kaye during a memorial service for her in Poway, California (Source: AP Photo/Gregory Bull)


MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) previously reported that the gunman who was armed with a semiautomatic rifle and opened fire on a congregation inside a suburban San Diego synagogue, killing one person and injuring three others, was motivated by hate. He reportedly entered the Chabad of Poway in the 16000 block of Chabad Way at about 11:20 a.m. and began firing indiscriminately.

19-year-old John T. Earnest from Rancho Penasquitos was arrested shortly after the shooting and was identified later. The young man appears to have also written a letter that he posted on social media which was filled with anti-Semitic content

With AP inputs.